twist mountain wedding photos

So you just got engaged, congratulations! Now it’s time to start planning the big day. As most wedding planning goes, you’ll first probably pick your venue and catering, wedding planner, then it’s on to the photographer! While I’m a little bit biased, I must say that hiring a photographer you trust and gel with is super important, for a couple of reasons. In all likelihood, your photographer is the member of your wedding team that you will be in contact with longest — you meet and chat long before the wedding, and you’ll stay in touch even after the wedding when you’re putting together your album and ordering other prints. On the wedding day itself, you will spend more time with your photographer than any other wedding team member too! They will be there with you while getting ready, when you’re spending time with the wedding party, taking couples and family photos, and of course through the reception. It’s so important to find somebody that you connect with and want around on your big day!

father walking bride down the aisle

There are a lot of different styles of wedding photography out there. I prefer a documentary approach — I think it’s the best way to capture real life emotions. Documentary wedding photographers strive to capture candid wedding pictures and tell the story of your wedding day, exactly as it happens. If you’re ordering a wedding album (which you definitely should!), I don’t just want the photos to show what happened, I want them to transport you back to that exact moment. I want it to retell your story exactly as you experienced it, from beginning to end.

This kind of photography isn’t without it’s challenges. We all have seen ourself in pictures and thought, “hmm, that chin though.” Lucky for you, there are a few things you can do to compliment your natural and candid emotions in your wedding pictures.

Ain’t no chin here. Just those beautiful, happy faces.

jackson hole wedding photos at sunset

1. Communication. Your best bet is to communicate early and often with your photographer. Reach out and let them know how the planning process is going. Tell them you’ve found the dress of your dreams, or let them know you have a family heirloom engagement ring that’s been passed down through generations. Keep them up to date on the schedule and ask them for ways that they can maximize their hired time with you. The more details your photographer knows in advance, the more confident they will be in capturing every little moment. I feel most comfortable when I know everything that’s going to happen so that I can just show up on the big day and do what my couples hired me to do – document their day!

ring with green mrs box

2. Shot list shmot list. There are a zillion absolutely beautiful wedding photos on Pinterest. Sometimes, I am lucky enough to have my own photos shared widely! But the best photos evolve naturally from the moment, let your spontaneity and your photographer’s creativity shine! It’s helpful to have the details you want photographed laid out when they arrive, but try not to impose the form of another couple’s wedding on your own photos. Remember, you hired somebody you trust, so let their creative eye shine! If you have a few situations that you’d like to re-create, that’s totally fine. But remember: the only shot list you really need is the one explaining your family tree.

Do they know they’re being photographed? No!

candid wedding photo of bride and groom dancing

3. PSA: you might be having your photo taken, right now. One of my top tips for couples who want more candid wedding pictures is to make them aware that I may always be taking their photo. During cocktail hour when you’re chatting with your guests, your photographer will be hanging out in the shadows trying to get real candid wedding pictures of you interacting with all of your favorite people. If you notice me, don’t worry — I’m not going to make you look into the camera and smile unless you want me to. Better yet, carry on with your conversation. These people are at your wedding because they’re the coolest people you know!

pickering barn wedding photos

4. Just be yourself. Clichéd? Sure. But is it true? Absolutely. What I mean is: during your couples portraits, interact with each other. Adjust your groom’s tie. Brush your partner’s hair out of their eyes. Steal kisses, say inappropriate things, laugh together. Sure, a camera is pointed at you pretty much most of the day, but you’ll stop noticing it once you focus on the person in front of you. Try to soak in the fact that this is the day you’ve been dreaming of and be excited! Little moments like this, while somewhat staged at times, make for some really beautiful candid wedding pictures.

– I’m pretty glad we have a wedding planner
– Yea I think mom would have forgotten the champagne

bride and groom sipping champagne at carnation farms

5. A little bubbly helps… That’s right, I said it. Treat yourself to a glass of champagne (or poison of your choice) before your photo session. A little liquid courage always seems to calm the nerves! 😉

bride and groom at sunset at des moines beach park wedding

Do you have any other thoughts on how to get the best candid wedding pictures? Feel free to share, we are always looking for new ideas and advice for our couples!